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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2361 > Art or artisan?

Art or artisan?

British studio pottery, once the preserve of a small number of devotees, currently ranks among the strongest subsets of the art and antiques market. In the first element of a two-part feature Terence Ryle considers the London market



For a long time studio ceramics have played second fiddle to other ‘art’ forms.

As Marijke Varrell-Jones of London specialist auction house Maak points out, the traditional artistic pyramid places painting and sculpture at the top and the applied arts somewhere towards the bottom.

“It seems wrong that the establishment decrees that there must be a hierarchy between the potter’s craft and contemporary art but there are commercial considerations,” she says.

A line has long been drawn between artist ceramics – works made by recognised fine artists from Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso to Lucio Fontana and Roy Lichtenstein who have occasionally chosen ceramics as a sculptural medium – and the craft work of British studio potters whose oeuvre is dedicated to modelling and throwing items in clay.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Published every week since 1971, Antiques Trade Gazette is affectionately known as ‘the Bible of the antiques trade’. A long tradition of authority, integrity and accuracy, makes it the essential read for everyone who loves antiques. With a subscription to Antiques Trade Gazette, you’ll stay ahead of all the developments in the art and antiques market, plus you’ll enjoy • A comprehensive auction calendar – see when and where every sale will be happening • Exclusive interviews with dealers, giving you the inside track on the trade • Breaking news on key industry developments • Secrets, stories and tips from leading specialists and collectors • Top lots advertised by auctioneers • Previews of the best art and antiques fairs and markets • Special supplements focusing on specific collecting areas